A common issue that clients have is trying to figure out what happens after they’ve hired a private investigator. Many (understandably) have no idea what to expect.
This article is meant to help you make the smartest choices possible following your decision to hire a private investigator.
Keep It A Secret
It seems to go without saying, but don’t share information with the opposing party. People have made this mistake, both intentionally (“I wanted to see their face when they found out”) and unintentionally (“we were talking about something unrelated and it just slipped out”).
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Regardless of how it happened, sharing information relating to the investigation has a negative impact on the service(s) you’re paying for. When you hire a private investigator, it is almost always because you want an answer that is not readily available or given by the other party easily. When you advise the other party that you are having them investigated, they will not be happy about it, and they can take any number of actions to change their behaviour or hide information. That ultimately makes the investigator’s job much harder, and can add to the time and costs involved.
Leave The hard Work To The Investigator
Clients may be tempted to save a little money, or show the investigator that they are proactive clients, by trying to do the investigation simultaneously. This never works out. If you hired an investigator let them do their job unless the investigator has specifically asked you for something.
So many times I’ve seen a client hire an investigator and then decide that they will start “peeking” at the other person’s Facebook or social media accounts, or start asking the party being investigated questions that they normally wouldn’t. In one case, someone actually attempted to call the opposing party’s suspected workplace and inquire about them.
While intentions may be good, when clients try to get involved, costs generally go up, the end result is not as helpful to the client, and in some cases, the client damages their own case so badly that it cannot be fixed.
Ways You Can Help
You don’t have to sit at home and twiddle your thumbs or drive yourself crazy. You can be of tremendous help to your own case by doing very simple things like providing information that the investigator would otherwise have to look for. This can save you time and money. If you have good photos of the person you want to investigate, provide a couple of them.
You can also help the investigator by providing any personal details that you remember, like: the person’s full name, nick names used by them, current address or former addresses, date of birth, the vehicle they drive, licence plate numbers, current or former employers, hobbies they have or places they like to go, vacations they’ve been on, and / or any clubs or groups that they associate with. Often, clients will assume that personal habits or details about the other party are insignificant, but they can completely change the way that an investigator approaches the investigation and can make a huge difference in the end cost and end result.
Another great way to help is to allow the investigator to have the time required to find your answer. Today, we are spoiled with immediate gratification. But investigations cannot be completed right away. They take time. Information can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few months to retrieve and sometimes your investigation will be impacted by public holidays (not just in your country but also in others), vacation time and sick days. In the case of surveillance, you could be highly successful in the first day, or it could take a number of days or weeks to find the answer you need.
The best way to solve these problems as a client is to:
A) Listen carefully and write down what the investigator asks you to provide.
B) Provide the information requested in detail, but always double check it to make sure it is correct before you pass it on (a misspelled name or accidentally calling a location a Street instead of a Road could result in lots of wasted time and money).
C) Once the investigator has the information and is working on the investigation, limit your contact to providing updated information if applicable, and discussing changes in your requirements.
D) Avoid discussing the fact that you hired an investigator or what they are looking for until after your matter is fully resolved.
It can be very difficult to wait for results, and sometimes, you don’t have much time to spare. But if you can follow the points given above, you will have done everything possible to ensure that a timely, successful and cost-effective investigation is conducted.